Alfredo Guevara has quit his post as head of the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC), an organisation he founded shortly after Cuba's 1959 revolution, citing a desire to devote more time to international projects.

A close friend of President Fidel Castro, Guevara was officially declared "released" from his responsibilities at the state-run entity. Guevara was known as a staunch supporter of Cuba's artists, even when they produced works that criticised Cuban society. The 1995 ICAIC-backed film Guantanamera, directed by Juan Carols Tabio and Tomas Gutierrez Alea, was regarded as falling into this category by some Cuban intellectuals.

ICAIC also co-produced Wim Wenders' Buena Vista Social Club, which revolves around a group of veteran Cuban musicians, with Wenders' Road Movies Filmproduktion and Kintop Pictures.

Guevara, 79, will be replaced by Omar Gonzalez, current head of the government-backed Cuban Book Institute. He will continue to preside over the annual Havana Film Festival, held in early December.